Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Netflix teaming with LG for Set-Top Box

  The Hacking Netflix Weblog is reporting that Netflix is teaming up with LG to make a set-top box that will stream movies (not store them) to your TV.  Netflix's Reed Hastings has said Netflix will partner with other companies as well for additional set-top boxes.  This would undoubtedly work with a ramped-up version of Netflix's "watch instantly" feature already available to Netflix subscribers today.

Hacking Netflix has a few further details on the box along with a screen-shot of the interface.  I see this as a good move by Netflix as long as:

  • Netflix improves the "watch instantly" collection tremendously - including new releases and television shows.   Currently there are around 6,000 titles of which none are new releases and popular titles are sparse.
  • The set-top boxes are priced low - think $99 for a nice price point.  And the rental prices (or subscriptions) are reasonable.
  • The quality is decent on larger sets (including HD) and the streaming quality is good even with 802.11g - without delays during playback.  If it's not, I don't see how people would opt to pay for a box.
  • Netflix partners with Microsoft to put the feature on Xbox360's, Microsoft Media Center PC's & extenders, SageTV Computers and extenders, Sony PS3's and Nintendo Wii's.  Do that and they will succeed.  Limit it to do-one-thing boxes and it will fail.

The acceptance of Movie and Television Show Streaming by the masses is coming - it's only a matter of time and the right technology and product.  Netflix is in a perfect position to deliver a successful product here that could position them to be the market leader and transition themselves away from the movies-by-mail model that they rely on today.  If they fail this time someone else such as Amazon or Microsoft will step in and take their place.

via Hacking Netflix


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